Sunday, August 21, 2016

Glial cells of the brain

During embryological development certain cells derived from neural epithelium do not develop as neurons but as cells that occupy space between neurons.

These cells have been called neuroglia or glial cells from the suggestion they were the neural glue that held the neuron population. Glial cells are small and very numerous. In fact there are about 10 times more glial cells than neurons.

Originally, the glial cells were thought to function only as supportive tissue for the intricate neuronal matrix of the brain. While glial cells do play an important supportive role, it is now known that glial cells may play an even more dynamic, interactive, and regulatory role in brain function.

Each type of glial cell serves a very specific function. Some common glial cells are astroglia, radial glia, and oligodendrocytes, Astroglia are star-shape cells that transfer energy molecules and oxygen from the blood to the neurons and carry waste products from the neuron to the blood stream.

Radial glia are specialized astrocytes that play a critical role in brain development- they provide a ‘pathway’ for developing neurons to follow in the way to the final destination.

Researchers have found that the number and density of glial cells in key parts of the brain are often substantially reduced in people with depression.

They are generally divided into the microglia and microglia. The microglial cells function in phagocytosis of neuronal debris.
Glial cells of the brain

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